The need for continuous improvement is desired in every tiny little part of our fast-growing society. There’s no doubt about that. Researching all kinds of stuff in all kinds of industries and looking for the latest developments, trends, hot topics and issues is part of my job and you would believe what are the most common words or phrases to be found: improvement, best practices in this and that, finding more sufficient ways of..., strengthening processes and many more of a similar nature. It's logical and it would be irrational to do the opposite. We all have to improve continuously to keep up with the world.
I have come across many blog posts and white papers and one of them recently caught my attention. Despite it having seven full pages of reading, I did read it (seven is not that high a number of pages, but to be honest I do not enjoy wasting my working time on reading this kind of stuff – I have better things to do to be efficient and productive). The paper was conducted by Norway Statistics (translation from Norwegian Statistisk sentralbyrå), Norway's central institution for producing official statistics, and the topic of the paper is The Improvement of HR Management by using Lean. Finally, a white paper from which I understood the basic principles of Lean and how it could be adapted to HR!
The authors of the paper identify and explain the basic problems for the HR department which necessitated the change and why they decided to use the Lean approach, what was expected to be changed and how. All of these issues, problems, needs and explanations made me think about the whole idea of transforming the structure of a department or a whole company (when it comes to reorganization). As I have already mentioned a few times, never-ending change is necessary and everything needs to be 'up-to-date', but why tend to do the same things over and over again? First, we try to decentralize the management and divide the tasks among the people and offices, then, because new trends are saying so, everything is centralized again because it was not efficient; after some time it now seems to not be efficient enough... and so it goes... Even when our structure works perfectly!
Anyways, after reading the insights of professionals from Norway Statistics I realized that we will never be satisfied with anything and we will never admit failure of the transformation of some department after we have put so much effort into it. BUT, the lean approach has been successful in every area where it has been introduced and I believe that HR should also discover its benefits.
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